Going back to school wouldn't be so bad if you knew it meant letting your mind flourish in an incredible environment such as this. The architects of Bakoko Design Development are changing the collegiate experience, leaving antiquated columns and carbon heavy glass structures behind for a smart and green modern design. The new Kyaoi Garden University building not only takes advantage of an efficient vertical construction, but it also creates a beautiful and open space with a sloping green roof able to host a biodiversity of plants in addition to people.
The new academic building is Bakoko’s latest submission to a competition calling for architects to submit a new design for Kyaoi Garden University’s existing amenity space. Rather than starting from scratch, the architects opted to “lift” the existing space to a higher level which would not only optimize the building through vertical construction and provide the chance to create a green public space, but give the adjacent sports field much needed spectator seating. While indisputably a well thought out program, the most impressive features relate to the sustainable elements employed in the structure’s design. The sloping green roof not offers an incredible open space for student, staff and visitors, but the inherent biomass lends a hand in significantly reducing the need for both mechanical heating and cooling year round. Additionally, the expansive roof also aids in capturing rainwater runoff and promotes the propagation of an array of trees and plants that would be otherwise be difficult to maintain.
While the roof may be the crowning piece, the interior of the structure is nothing to glaze over when it comes to sustainable elements and impressive aesthetics. Supporting the green roof is a grid of perforated concrete vaults which uses its curving formation to optimize the compressive strength of the construction, while providing efficient air circulation and natural lighting. Wind catching caps are located over the openings to draw fresh cool air and natural daylight into the interior of the building, and in the bays devoid off end catchers, artificial light is reflected and diffused by the double-curved ceiling panels. Bakoko in fact took inspiration from nature when designing this support system, and the vaults are easily comparable in design to the intricate mineral skeletons that protect microscopic protozoa called radiolaria. And given the school’s religious affiliations, the vault is stylistically suitable, referencing the traditional building aesthetic found in historic Christian structures.